"If it's not Scottish, then it's......"
Scots super-regiment to be kitted out in foreign kilts
Soldiers from the Black Watch. Some fear the new amalgamated regiment faces wearing 'embarrassingly' poorly made tartans to save money.
Picture: Chris Young/PA
• Cut-price kilts for new Scots regiment
• Army lowers standards in search of savings
• Worries over poorly-made kit for troops is high
"The kilts are clearly going to be sub-standard. Now there will be different cuts and shades on parades and it will be an embarrassment. The ceremonial Scottish wear of kilts and trews should absolutely be made in Scotland." - Jeremy Purvis, Borders MSP
Story in full
THE British Army has lowered the standards required of ceremonial kilts for the new amalgamated Scots regiment so that they may be manufactured from cheap tartan made abroad, a move critics say could lead to poorly made outfits.
Borders weavers Robert Noble has produced the tartan for the ceremonial kilts worn by Scottish regiments for 150 years.
But in an effort to drive down costs, the Ministry of Defence has announced it is putting the contract to produce tartan for the amalgamated Royal Regiment of Scotland up for tender.
It is also lowering the standards of the tartan's quality to allow other companies producing cheaper, lower-grade cloth to compete against the expertise of Borders textile companies.
The MoD has launched a competitive tender allowing any manufacturers to compete for the contract of 5,000 kilts, estimated to be worth £300,000, for the new regiment.
Previously, only a few firms in Scotland could produce woven woollen cloth to the high standards required, but the MoD has lowered standards so more firms can compete at lower prices.
Jeremy Purvis, a Borders MSP, said the MoD cost-cutting was misguided.
"This is about the standard of cloth provided. It is an insult to the company that has been providing it for over 100 years," he said.
The MSP also said the MoD's attitude and insensitivity towards the contract was a worrying reflection on attitudes towards the new Royal Regiment of Scotland. He added: "I hope very much it is not, but the way they have behaved in this incident does give that indication.
"The kilts are clearly going to be sub-standard. Now there will be different cuts and shades on parades and it will be an embarrassment. The ceremonial Scottish wear of kilts and trews should absolutely be made in Scotland."
The MSP tabled a motion last night before the Scottish Parliament asking for support and calling for MSPs to pressure the MoD to change its mind.
The Independent Companies of Highlanders first wore kilts as government troops in 1624. When they evolved into the Black Watch regiment in 1740, their great kilt uniform was standardised with a new dark tartan.
As the number of Highland regiments grew in the 18th century, they were given different tartans as a means of identification.
Scottish troops last wore kilts in combat during the First World War.
Roland Brett, the managing director of Robert Noble, said: "Tendering will take no account of the experience and investment we have with the ministry. All they are saying is 'give me a quote for this type of product'."
The firm has already produced up to 20 tartans for the MoD and even helped the department design a new tartan for the amalgamated Royal Regiment of Scotland.
An MoD spokesman insisted that the changes have been made in order to provide best value for the UK taxpayer and added that the new worsted fabric would be less "fluffy" in appearance.
The MoD contract will be directly between the kilt manufacturer and the MoD.
It is up to the producers of the garment to source the material at the cheapest possible price, making it more likely that it will come from abroad.
One and a half billion reasons why MoD is looking to save money
THE Ministry of Defence is notorious for its ability to spend money over budget.
It was reported to be £1.7 billion in debt in November 2004, in addition to a previous estimated £3 billion from 2003.
This wastefulness was due to the overspend on a project for Nimrod reconnaissance planes which went £408 million over budget.
This was in addition to the Eurofighter warplanes project which was £130 million over budget.
The cost of the Future Joint Combat Aircraft rose by £372 million and the overall cost of the top 20 projects has now reached £50 billion. One thousand battalions could be run for the same price, as the cost of running one infantry regiment such as the Black Watch is estimated at £17 million a year.
British armed forces
The future of Scotland's regiments
This article: http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=278112006
Last updated: 23-Feb-06 09:42 GMT
Made in China. lol that would be funny.
I'm all against that... unless they buy from an American textile firm.
Actually...I just got off the phone with a customer from W. Yorkshire, which was formerly a big wool-producing area, and he says that some of the Yorkshire companies and other firms I get my wool for reenactment uniforms from, are indeed importing wool at a very cheap price from China, selling it under their names, and have discontinued any woolen manufacture in Britain. Too expensive to make it in Britain!
These same firms also sell wool to the British Army....
I just don't get the whole kilt thing. My ancestors wore pants so I never considered wearing a kilt myself. Nothing wrong with it, just not for me.
Agree that it'll be made in China but hey, where else can you get free labor from children who are working their way through kindergarten?
BTW, the N-D-Ns derisively called the English, Petticoat soliders. Then the Scots showed up and confirmed it (the Scots did badly in 1758 during Forbes' Expedition).
Napoleon_Tanerite....... Now that is one of the coolest names that I've seen here in my 6+ years.
Injuns. But he leaves out what happened later on in the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War) and Pontiac's Rebellion, where the Brits learned from the Indians and Colonials, and from Central European irregular troops to form the first dedicated British light infantry regiments, AND used their own Redcoat regiments properly against the French and Indians, trouncing them in 1759 at Quebec and then won all the way to 1764. The Scottish regiments tore into the Indians at Bushy Run, August 5th and 6th, 1763. The Indians fled from their bloodthirstiness. When well-led, Scots and English troops were and are the best in the world.
The French and Indian War- the only war named after the losers...
Black Watch charge at Bushy Run, 1763, by Don Troiani
Jings! There's nae end tae this!